KARACHI- There are currently 7.1 million diabetics in Pakistan and if measures are not taken to redress the situation, the figure is projected to rise to approximately 11.4 million by 2030.

This was stated at the 1st Sanofi International Diabetic Conference held at a local hotel. Speaking on the occasion, International Diabetes Federation (IDF) President Sir Michael Hirst pointed out that 1/8th of the global population will have diabetes or be at risk of developing diabetes by the year 2035.

Diabetes is an increasingly serious social, economic and medical threat faced by all nations. It must specially be given high priority in the health policies of developing countries, as it is not just a health issue but a disease that hinders physical development and growth, said Hirst, who is also a former member of the British parliament and served in a ministerial capacity during Margret Thatcher’s tenure.

Hirst said that prevention is the key, as it is the only way to stop the spread of diabetes. “ However, we must also focus on the treatment and make sure that no patient, in any country, dies because he or she could not get insulin,” he said.

Sharing details of various IDF projects, Hirst highlighted the Life for Child and Insulin for Life programs are important humanitarian missions which have been launched in 43 countries.

He also emphasized the role the media can play in creating awareness about diabetes, explain its risks and treatment procedures. We can easily overcome the prevalent ignorance through effective collaboration with the media, said Hirst.

The IDF president added that Pakistan has promised all international regulatory bodies that it will ensure the availability of essential diabetes drugs. Responding to a question by media about whether a wild plant available in Pakistan does actually possess the ability to cure diabetes, Prof Shera stated that information has not yet been proven. Over 340 plants have been identified as having blood sugar lowering properties but there has been no scientific research as yet, he said.

Sanofi Managing Director & General Manager Tariq Wajid also addressed the conference. The finale of the conference was the launch of the KIDS project, a collaborative initiative between the IDF, DAP and Sanofi Diabetes. The project is aimed at fostering a safe and supportive school environment for children with diabetes. This will not only enable them to better manage their condition but also help prevent discrimination and increase awareness.